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Printed for G, Nicol^ Bookfeller to His Majefty. 


A Pamphlet intklcd a " Propofal for the - 
Xj^ " Confideration of thofe, who intereft 
themfelves in the Abolition or Prefervation of 
the Slave Trade, written by a Clergyman," 
has given me the greateft pleafure. The anony- 
mous author is through the whole guided by phi- 
lanthropy and hiflorical knowledge ; and he has 
founded his propofals upon fuch principles as I 
find have been laid down by our anceftors of the 
middle ages, when employed in the abolition of 
a traffic, fo highly important to them. 

Human beings were of old the principal 
ftock in trade, and the fyftem of raifing this va- 
luable- article for an extenfive market had its 
fource in that degree of civilization, which bor- 
ders upon the favage ftate of human nature, and 
prevails on the ,conqueror, rather to fell his 
prifoners to foreign buyers, than to put them to 
the fword, a praftice common to all barbarous 



I 4 3 

Various as the claims and titles were, by which 
our anceftors came to their flaves, I have no 
doubt but that the fame ftill prevail among the 
Africans, and will continue to prevail till the 
bleffings of our facred religion, the knowledge of 
common duties, and a fixed love for agriculture, 
arts, and manufadlures, fpread themfelves among 
thofe millions, who atprefent are funk into igno- 

"Before the 'Chriftian relimon was univer- 
fally received in Europe, flave-markets were 
regularly eftablifhed at Rome at Briftol f, 
at Micklenburgk j:, at Skonor §, and in the 
iilands of Brenneyar 1|, near Gottenborgh. The' 

* Vita Zachanos Papa: Rom. in the year 747. 

t Wilhelm. Malmefbur. in the Life of Su Wulfftan. 
Wharton's Anglia Sacra, Vol. 11. p. 258, 

J Helmoldi Chronic Slavic, libr. i. p. 9. Adam of Bre- 
men calls it Magnopolis, a great town at that time near 
Wifmar. . 

§ Snorro Sturlefon's HiHory of Norway in many places ; 
and Thorm. Torfa.'i, Hift. Rer. Norvegic, t. 2. p. 332. 

II Laxdaila Saga ; or, the hiftory of the county of Lax- 
ardal, in Iceland, during the loth century, MS. confer, 1. 
Reenhielm Obfervations on the Life of king OlufFTreggva- 
fon. Upfal, p. 127. This curious manufcript is now, 
among many other, in the pofTeflion of the Britilh Mufeum, 
owing to the public fpirit and unrivalled liberality of Sir 
Jofeph Banks, baronet, prefident of the Royal Society, '&:c. 




C 5 ] 

hiftory of this laft market has been handed down 
to us in the Icelandic language, from which I 
■ihall tranflate the following account, as it throws 
Jio inconfiderable light upon" the ftate of thofe 
tixnes with refpeft to commerce and manners. 
"Hofkold, of Hofkoldftad/' fays the author, 
>^ went to the iflands of Brenneyar, It being 
efteemed the higheft pleafure to attend an af- 
fembly crowded with the chiefs of every nation 
of whom we have any knowledge : for here 
the kings of Gothic race were obliged, accord- 
ing to a ftanding law, to meet every third year, 
for the purpofc of eftablifliing mutual peace 
"throughout^ their dominions. The market 
"was exceedingly numerous, and at the fame 
time as fplendid and attraftive, every paule 
of bufinefs being filled with banquetting, in- 
" terludes, plays, and a variety of other enter- 
" talnments equally enchanting. One day as 
" Hoikold took a walk with" fome of his attend- 
ants, he chanced to fee a neat tent at a diftance 
" from the reft; curioficy induced him to go that 
" way. Having com.e up to it,- he met with a 
man 'at 'the' door, cloathed in purple, with a 
Ruffian hat on his head. On enquiry, he 
found that his name was Gilli, the Ruffian. — ' 
" Hofkold faid, he had often heard his name, and 
'^^ that his fortune was fuperior to that of any 
"other merchants in confequence of which he 

A 3 expected 

" expefted to find every thing in kis' poffeffioa 
" which he niight wilh to buy. — G>Ui enquired 
what he wanted : — one of Hoflcold's attend- 
ants anfwered that he wanted to purchafe a 
" maid-flavej if he had any, Gilli replied. No 
" doubt you intend to rally me, for you pro- 
bably guefs that I have not what you afk for ; 
but in that you are perhaps miftaken. Hof- 
kold having caft his eyes round the tent, ob- 
" ferved it to be divided with a curtain fufpended 
" in the middle, which on being drawn up dif- 
clofed twelve women. Gilli on this invited 
Hofkold to approach, and take his choice. 
" Hofkold accepted the invitation ; and, afcfer a 
" clofe infpeftion, fixed on one, feated laft of all 
" next the tent, and of courfe lefs confpicuous,—- 
" notwithftanding the meannefs of her drefs, her 
" beauty fhone throughout fo irrefiftibly, that 
" Hofkold was immediately captivated with her 
" charms, which convinced him of her illuftrious 
defccnt. The price fet on her amounted to 
" the weight of three marks of filver. It feems 
to me, faid Hofkold, that you place too high 
" a value on her^ in as much as this appears to 
" be triple the price. Gilli acknowledged he 
" was in the right, as he efteemed her beyond 
the reft j at thefame time acquainting Hofkold, 
that if he gave her up, and chofe any one of 
the reft, he fhould have one of them for one 

" mark 

[ 7 3 

« mark of filver, 1 will fee, faid Hofkold, the 
quantity of filver at prefent in my purfe, which 
was hung on his girdle , then ke called for 

^^Jeales, Gilli feeing this, obferved, that no inn- 

^ pofition in this affair ftiould be laid to his 
charge ; on account of which he thoiaght it 

" but juft to acquaint the intended purchafer, 

that the woman was fubjeft to a remarkable 
*^ defefti Hoflcold was impatient to know what 
it might bci Gilli foon gratified him, in let- 
" ting him know that ftie was dumb : and not- 
withftanding, continued the merchant, I have 
*^ endeavoured by various means to induce her 
to fpeak, thefe have all proved ineffeftuaL— i 
Holkold again demanded the fcales, and de- 
fired to fee how much the purfe contained* 
Gilli obeyed j and having weighed the filvefj 
found it exaftly to amount to three marks* 
Having clofed the bargain, Hoflcold took the 
female flave, and acknowledged, that Gilli 
" throughout the whole had dealt with candour.'* 

In all the places aforefaid, human beings were 
liowever as often exchanged for horfes, arms, and 
loaves of bread and meat, as fold for money* 
Thus Lullus, the archbifhop of Mentz, affertSj 
that he faw a horfe exchanged for a male flave * 5 
and, according to Schannat, a female one was 

• Epiftola inter Bonifacianas, C. 

A 4 fold 



[ « 3 

fold for a horfe, a Ihield, and a fpcar *. But Saint 
Rembertj arcbilhop of Hambourgh, made a far 
better bargain, receiving from the heathen Danes 
a great number of their (laves for the horfe he 
rode upon f. Nor were the flaves of higher va- 
lue among the Goths ; for Jornandes tells us, that 
they exchanged their Haves for a piece of bread 
and meat J. Among the Francs the price of a 
Ikilful flave was lo flcillings of gold, but in 
Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, the regular 
price never exceeded one mark filver, /. one 
pound twelve fhillings fterllng § ; and in Wales . 
a Aave was equal to a head of cattle 1|. As 
to die perfonal rights, a flave was every where 

* Schannati Codex Tradltionum Fuldenfium Charta, 
ccxix, Lipfise, 1724* 

f Adami Bremenfis, Hift. Ecclef. lib. 1. p. 3;. Vita 
•SantSli Remberti in Langebech's Script, Rcr. Danic. t. ii. 
p. 140—41. 

' X Jornandes de Rebus Geticis, cap, xxvi, p. 647. Edit. 
Grotii.* Amflelod. 1655. 
§ L?.xda;la Saga, 1. c. 

j| Leges Wallica;. Edit. Wotton. lib. iii. p. 206. Hero 
eadem eft poteflas in fervum fuum ac in J amentum, & ]ibr. 
iv. p. 324. Compenfatio pro csede fervi pra;finitur nuIJa, 
excepto quod pretium ejus domino folvitur prout animalia 
occifa compenfari dcbenc. This is determined in the fecond 
chapter to be one mark (libra), if the deceafed had been 
native, but one mark, one hundred and twenty pences if 
foreigner of birth. Sec p. 205. 


C 9 ] 

Ibid with the fame forms * and folemnities as z 
horfcj or any other beaft; except in Dennriark, 
where a proclamation before a court of law was 
ordered to precede the fale ^. According to fuch 
principles, the fame ciiftom was paid for an im- 
ported flave as for an ox, viz. a faiga, or a penny, 
if the flave was to be fold f . The flaves being 
chained together, were brought to market, and 
fold in lots, each lot containing a number of 
flaves, which number was very various and un- 
certain J. Thus Saint Elegius, bifhop of Noyons, 
bought often twenty, thirty, fifty, nay whole fliip 
loads in fuch lots, confifting of men, women, and 
children, from Germany, Britain, Italy, and the 
Levant Helmold beheld at once in the mar- 
ket at Micklinburgk no lefs than feven thoufand 
Danes expofed to fale jj. And at that time certain J 
merchants embraced only this branch of trade, 
which to them proved highly beneficial. Yet 

- * • - 

of all nations, none was more favage than the 
inhabitants of Verdun, who having emafculated 
the boys, fold them at an immerlp price to the 

* The forms are preferved in Marcnifi Formula, xxi. xlu 

Leges Scanic:E, L vi. c. 5. 
t H. Goldafli Conftltutiones Imperiales, t. i. p. 21Q, 
X Will. Malmefbur. in vita St. Wulfilani. 
§ Da Chefne Scriptor. Rer. Francicar, t. i. p. 628. 
II Helmoidi Chxonic. Eclavor, libro li. c. 12, 



Arabs, who were then fettled in Spain *. The 
Slave Trade was otherwife the bufinefs of the 
JewSj particularly in France, which gave Ago^ 
bard, the archbilhop of Lyon, 'occafiori to re- 
proach the Chriftians in feveral of his fermonsf 
for permitting the Jews to traffick in flaves* 
On the other hand the Saracens raifed an incre- 
dible number of Haves for the Venetians, who 
fold them publicly at Rome J. But this mar-^ 
ket being flopped, the Venetians bought Chrif- 
tian flaves on board the privateers infefting the 
Mediterranean, and brought them to their own 
market §. At length the Doge interfered, and 
at once put an end to this fhameful traffic* 

The Chriftian religion being at length re-' 
ceived by the different nations of Europe^ totally 
changed the ancient trade* On one fide the 

* Carfamatium vocant Grjeci. Amputatis virilibus et 
virga eunuchum, quos Verdunenfes ob immenfum lucrum 
faccre folent & in Hifpanianas ducere. Vid. Du Chefn* 
Gloffar. ad Script, media; et infiniae. Lat. t. ii. p. 363; 
Paris, 1733, ' 

f Baluzius^ t. 1. p 6z. whei-e St. Agobard's Letters ar< 
complaining of the Jewifli Infolence. 

% Anaflaf. in vita St. Zacharis, P. R. ad ann. ^47^ 
Contigit plures Venetorum, hanc Romanam advenifTe in 
urbem negotiatores et merdmonii nundinas propagantcs 
multitudinem Chriftianorum raancipiorum virilis filicet et 
feminini fexus emere vifi funt, quos et in Africam ad pa- 
ganam gentem nitebantur deducere, 

§ pandul. in Chronic, year 878. 

8 precepts 

precepts of Chriftianity were fpread among bar- 
barianSj and the dodtrine of equal rights, to which 
nature and a future life entitle all hunaan beings, 
without the leaft exception, naade the flave trade 
gradually to ceafe. On the other hand, the inn- 
portation of flaves, and all traffic of this nature, 
was fevcrely prohibited * ; Befides, a doftrinc 
was eftablifihed by the clergy, that eternal falva- 
tion would be the fureft reward for the enaancipa- 
tion of flaves f ; nay, the Chriftian priefts and 
confeffors frecjuently obliged their penitents, who 
had no flaves in their own poffeffion, to buy 
■fome and naanumit them in the prefencc of the 
people affembled in the church The priefts 
themfelves fet good examples, they purchafed 
flaves, particularly youths of a good and pro- 
mifmg appearance, received them into orders, 
and thus made (hem entirely free §. 


• There is no council held, fays Hildebrand in his Wf- 
toria Conciliorum, where the abolition of flave trade ]i2s nc^ 
been a ferious object. 

f Otto bilhop of Baniberg*s legation into Denmark iH- 
theyear 1228. In adlafanftor. Julii, t. i. p. 443* 

X 1. c. Confr. The Norwegian law called Gulethings 
Law, the chapt. on emancipation — The flave fliall be 
" brought into the church, and the Holy Bible laid on his 
*' head, which being done, he fliall be free." 

§ VitaSandli Anfcharii by Rejnbert,cap. vii.inLangebech's 
Script. Rer. Danicar, t. iv. p. " Cosperunt curiofe pueros ' 

^uerere, tjuos emcrent, ut ad Dei fervitium educarent. Et. 

*^ cap. 

T 12 1 

Before we proceed to the abolition of the flavc 
trade by law, I fliall beg leave to obfer ve, that flaves 
were anaong thofe things which our heathen an- 
ceftors offered to their numerous gods, and 
ftained their altars with human blood ; if we 
can believe Ditmarus of Merfeburg, who charges 
the Danes with having in their great facri- 

fices ufed no fewer than ninety-nine flaves *• 
.St. Bonifacius tells us, that the newly converted 
Germans fold their flaves to their infidel neigh- 
bours for the above-mentioned purpofe, which 
at length was flopped by Gregory the fecond, 
who made the ofi^ender guilty of a capital of- 
fence f. Charloman ordered in the fynod of Lep-. 

cap. ?dv. Ccepit quoque ex gente Danorum et Slavorum 
" nounullos emere pueros, aliquos etiam ex captivitate re- 
" dimere, quos ad fervitiumDei educaret. capitc xxxi. Mul-* 
*' tos redemit captivos, quos et libertate doiiavit, nonnullos 
tamen eorum, qui ad hoc apti eiTe poterunt, &c. conf. Jor- 
daniOrigines Slavicx, Partiv.p. 29S." " SandusWen- 
cellaus pueros gentiJium in fcrvitute genitos emens £dc 
** ■ Chrifli praeditos dabat iibertati. De Pueris Anglis Romse 
candem ob caufam publico emptis vid, St. Gregorii et 
St. Auguftini Vitas in Mabillonii A£ia Sandorum, t, i. p. 
" 391. 405, 42S. 504.'* 

* Ditmarus Merfeburgenfis in Leibnitii Scriptores Rer. 
Erunfvigicar, t. i. p. 327. Conf. Step. Joh. Stephanii 
notas ad Saxon. Grammatici Hiftor. Danic, p. 92, Sora 
1644-45, fol. and J. Grupcns Orlgiaes Livonia:, 

f Bar,onii Annal, Ecclefiafticij in the year 731. 



i 13 } 

tin, in the year 743, that a man, who fold his 
flave to an infidel, Ihould be infamous 5 and ex- 
communicated in the fame manner as a mur- 
derer, if the flave thus fold was intended to fall 
a viftim to the gods. And in Norway it was 
abfolutely forbid to fell a flave out of the king-- 
dom, unlefs he had committed an enormous* 
crime *. With a view to promote the abolition 
of this favage cuftom, which proved to be fatal 
to perfons of the moft exquifite beauty f and 
the moft exalted charafter ; it was wifely ena£t- 
ed, that the ceremonies of emancipation among 
the Chriftians fliould refemble the form of the 
heathen facrifices, and engage in the fame way 
the imagination both of the Chriftians and the 
heathens. Thus happily did the flaves obtain 
chance of liberty 5 thus were they often brought 

* The Norwegian law, called Gulathing's Law of IGn^ 
Hacon Haconfon, Part 13, 

f Adam of Bremen. De Situ Danlae, Prseterea relatum. 
eft nobis in eodem ponto efle Eftland infula'm ubi Dracones 
adorant cum volucribus, quibus ctiam vivos litant homines, 
quos a mercatoribus emunt diligenter omnino probatos, n£ 
Maculam in corpore hahea.nt, pro qua refutari dicuntur, a 
Draconibus. In Sweden the fame praftice was not lefs 
common, where, on urgent occafion, kings and princes were 
facrificed, particularly in the times of fcarcity and famines. 
Nay the Swedes boafted once of having immolated five kings ' 
in one day. 

to the church, placed en the altar, ^^nd fymbo* 
lic4ly facriticed to the true God 


The national affemblies of the heathens com» 
menced with the bloody worlhip i and the Chris- 
tians palled a law, that on fuch occafions a flavc 
fhould be made free, .and the expence of the 
feaft, at which he obtained his liberty, defrayed 
by the public f , 

It had through ages been the cuftom of all the 
heathen nations, to exercife an arbitrary power 
over their new-born children, for it was left to 
their own pleafure, whether they chofe to have 
tlac trouble of nurfing thefe harmlefs beings, or 


•* A£la Sanflorum Julii, torn i. pag. 439. Mezlaus 
Princeps gravi Aifpirio frendcns in femet ipfo, Dcum ait, 
teflem invoco — quod hunc pro honore Dei omnipotentis et 
amore Domini mei Epifcopi abfolvo. Statimque, mifiig 
fatellitibus fuis, ergaftulo eum tenebrofo produxit, et ma- 
nibus fuis altar i fuperimponens, holocauftum eum in odorem 
fuavitatis obtulit domino, et mox vincala ejus folvi manda- 
yit. Conf. Scfridi Vitam Ottonis Epifcopi Bambergenfis 
A£U Sandl, Julii, t. i. p. 418. feq. 

t The ancient Norvvegiati law before the year 1222« 
part i. c 3. " We fhall manumit a flave in our annual af- 
fem.bly at Gula ; each member (hall emancipate his fiave 
by turn ; and the whole affembly lhall pay fix ounces of 
filver, in order to defray the expences of the Feall of 
^* Liberty. Whoever does negledl to procure a flave in his 

M turo 


C '5 1 

deftroy them *. The kws of nature, deeply en* 
graved in the breafts of the human race could 
not always be fuppreffed, and an aftion abhorred 
even by the brutes, awaked feelings which at 
length brought mankind back to the dictates of 
reafon. Many nations found it more advanta* 
geous, inftead of depriving the poor infants of 
their lives, to fell them into flavery : daus were 
many lives preferved, and the parents had the 
gratification of feeing theii: unhappy offspring 
have a chance of afpiring to a better fortune. 

The hberty of a mans felling into flavery his 
own children, was of courfe reftrained to certain 
rules. They begun by enafting that the child, 
which was fold for a flave, Ihould recover its 
liberty, by paying the fixth part of the purchafe 
money to the mafter. And it was further or- 
dered, that no fuch flave fliould be exported out 
of his native country. At length the duration 

'* turn, fhall be fined in xii ounces of filver to the Biftiop, 
" and the afiembJy fhall be obliged to buy a flave at their 
** own expence, for the above-mentioned purpofe. 

*■ With refped to the Greeks, fee Henr. Aug. Zeibickii 
Commentat. Academica ad Euripidis Jonem Witeb. 1732 ; 
and concerning the Romans, Gerh. Noodtii Julium Paullum 
& Cornelii Bynkerfhoekii Opufcula de jure occidendi, ven- 
dendi, et exponendi liberos ; and with refpefl to the northern 
nations, fee Johan. Erjci Differtatio dc Expofitione Infantum 
fJavnia, 1756. 



of this kind of flavcry was reduced to the cer- 
tain term of feven years *, or as the Icelandic 
law more equitably ordered it, till the pur- 
chafe money, and expences made on the flave, 
were reimburfed f. The learned lawyer Eu- 
febe de Lauriere, obferving that the ancient 
Germans were accuftomed to fell their children, 
has ftated, that they exercifed the Roman Jus 
Vits et Necis j; ; though I agree with him 
herein §, yet I cannot forbear obferving, that a 
very extraordinary reafon might fometimes give 
birth to a trade which makes every heart ache. 
The ancients, wherever they lived, were perpe- 
tually harraffed, as well with domeftic as foreign 
wars, and confequently experienced all thofe evils 
which arife from neglefted agriculture, dreadful 

fcai^city and famine. ThereforCj if the parents 

* Baluzii Capitularia Regum Francor, libr. vi. c. 4. 

t The Icelandic La-v, called Gragas, which prevailed 
from the year 928 till the year \ 267. 

X GlofTaire di; droit Francois, t. ii. p. 171. et t. i. p. 
378, in the words Mife hors de pain, Sc homme et femme 
mariez font tenus pour emanciper, 

§ In order to be convinced of the ancient Germans hav- 
ing exercifed over their children that which is called 
*' Jus Vitse & Necis," it is only necefTary to have recourfe 
to J. G. Keineccii Elementa Juris Germanici Antiqui, libr. 
ii, tit. 29. Halas 1746. Corpus Juris Germanici Antiqui, 
cjira J. G. Heincccii, et Petri Gcorgifch. Hala; 1738 in 4. 

' ■ did 


C 17 1 

did not chufe to fee the dear fruits of their mu- 
tual love pining and ftarving before' their eyes, 
they were obliged to fell their children to a pur- 
chafer, who had it in his power to preferve the 
lives of thefe unhappy viftims, though at the 
expence of their liberty *. 


From the fcarcity, fo frequent in thefe times, 
originated a law, which was- pafled by the re- 
public of Iceland f, which had not the lead 


* Vita Sandli Juniani apud Labbe in Bibliotheca Manufc. 
t. ii. p. 573, Cumque puer velociter juffa patris expleflii 
renuntiavit patri dicens. Mulier paupercula ^dcft, cui et 
panis deficit, nec unde emat, habet quo audito jufiit earn 
in confpe£tu fuo adftare, hilari vultu et paterno aifeflu in- 
terrogans, cur tanto ejulatu fleret, et clamoribus eum in- 
quietaret ? At ilia refpondet : Veri dei famuls et facerdos, 
fcias me fame periclitari, Panis deefl, emptio nulla, fames 
quotidie invalefcit, et ecce pra;gnans morior, quamobrem 
tuam ad vi clementiam, ut li me de peiiculo famis eripueris, 
fim tibi perpetuo ancilla, et filius, quern utero geilo fervus 
fempiternus, quem cum enutriero, tuis manibus, etjugiter 
fervire initituam, tantum adjuva ne percam. 

t The law of the Republic of Iceland> called Gragaas, in 
the Book relative to the poor, c. i. 

lit. Be it enafted, That the fon maintain his motlier 
*^ in preference to his other relations. 

2d. *^ That he fupport his kindred, as long as he can af- 
*' ford it, in the following order ; firft his father, then his 
" own children, and next after them his coufins. 

" That the claims of his other kindred be relative to hi^ right 

B "^of 

[ IS J 

refpeft to jus vit^e et necis. The law waSy 
" that the children being unable of themfelves 

to fupport their poor parents, fhould be 
*^ obliged, in order to maintain them, to fell 

themfelves into flaveryj" which flavery, how- 
ever, was to laft no longer than the urgent ^ne- 
ceflity continued. 

It is diificult to fix the certain sera when the 
emancipation of Da ves was univerfally introduced 
in Europe j for though Bodin points out the year 
1250, in his Book de Republica, yet we know 
that flavery lafted much longer in fome countries. 
The abolition of the flave trade was a very fe- 
rious objeft of the legiflative power through 
more than four centuries, for we find no council 
of the middle age without one canon ac kaft 
relative to this bufihefs. The civil governnnent' 
gave every fupport they could afford to fo pious 
and fo benevolent endeavours of the church j 

of comincr to the inheritance of them. If the fon has no 
*' fortune, then fhall he fell himfelf into flavery for the 

fupport of his father ; who, on the mother's fituation 
** being more aggravated, (hall give up his place to her,- 

and he fliall be fupported by his neareft relations. 

" The father has the alternative of felling himfelf and 
'* his children into flavery, on account of their education- 

If a perfon aforefaid be found to beg, then fliall he, 
«f who ought and could fupport that perfon, pay a fine to the 


1 and 

C 19 ] 

and both agreed, that the undertaking could 
only be accomplifhcd by flow degrees. The 
fteps adopted for this purpofe were on one fide, 
to forbid the exportation of flaves, to throw the 
flave trade into "the hands of 'Chriftians, who 
ought to know their common duties, and to 
make fome regulations concerning a humane* 
treatment of the flaves. On the other hand, 
laws were pafled, that oppofed the home traffic, 
and rendered it as difficult as poffible. 

In the year 779, Charles the Great pafled a 
law, that no flave fliould be exported out of his 
dominions * j and in the council at Reims,, it was 
enafted, that the flave trade fliould only be car- 
ried on by Chriflians ; and that a man who fold 
his flaves either to a Jew or a Heathen, fliould be 
excommunicated, and that the contradl be void f. 
Kidnapping was however very frequent among 
the Chriftians, particularly in Nordalbingia (the 
' prefent dukedoms of Schlefweg and Holflein) 
who ufed to force thofe Chriflians, who had fled 
to them from their Fleathen neighbours, to re- 
enter the flavery, and fuffer themfelves to be re- 
fold to their former mafl:ers ; till at length St, 

• Baluzii Capitularia, t. i. p. 144. 
t Synodus Aurdianenfis, iv, c. 50, 

B 2 Anfchan 

[ 20 3 

Anfcliar, archbifhop of Hambourgh, prevailed* 
on them to abolifh this difgraceful cuftom, and 
to iffue a law, " that whoever fhould be acciifcd 
" of kidnapping in time to come, fhould clear 
" himfelf by the judgment of God (fo the ordeal 

was theo called) and ftiould be excluded from 
^ the rights of producing witneffesj or taking his 

oath prefcribed by the common law : a law 

which bordered very near upon that of the 
" Jews (Exod. chap. xxi.)5 andhethatftealeth a 
" man, and fell him, or if he be found in his 

hand,^ he fhall furely be put to death." 
What Charles the Great, and the fynodes in 
different parts of Germany, France, and Italy, 
ht^d enaded, with refpeft to the flave trade, was 
followed by other princes- For Canute the Great, 
king of England, palTed a law, that no Chrif- 
" tian fliould be fold for exportation fj" by 


• Rembertusin vita Sancli Anfcharii, cap. xxxii. Infuper 
ne ulla fraus in futurum pro eadem re obtenderetur con* 
ventionem talem fecerunt, ut non juramento nec teiHbus 
fe ullus eonim, qui in praedida rapaciraLc inul\5lati fueranC 
defenderet, fed judicio omnipotentis Dei, fe committeret, 
aut ipfe, qui pro tali fcelere impetebatur, aut certe captivus, 
qui alium impetebat. 

f Prxdpimus na Chriftiani pafTim in exilium mlttantur 
" vel in gentilitatem, ne forte pereant anims." This 
fame law had been enabled before, viz. in the Synode of 
Enham, in the year 1009, Ne Chriftiani ct innocences ex- 

I 21 3 

fuch means the foreign flave trade clecreafed, 
and could only be carried on by fraudulent 
means*, and by a defcription of perfons, who were 
carefully watched by the bifliops, whom a fynode 
had authorized to enquire throughout their re- 
fpeftive diocefes, whether flaves were exported; 
*^ whether a Chriftian were ever fold, either to 
a Jew or a Heathen ; or, whether a Jew dealt 
" in flaves who profefs the Chriftian religion/* 
The famous market atBriftol where the flaves 
were imported from all parts of England, and 
there fold to Irifli merchants, was much deprefiTed 


tra Patrlam vendantur. Confer. Wilklns^ Concilia. M^nas 
Britann. t. i. p. 235. 287. 293. 295 et Leges Anglo Sax. 
pag. 107. 120. 134. 

* Regino de Difciplina Eccleriallic. libn ii. cap. 41. 

f Wilhelm. Malmefbur. in Wharton's Anglia Sacra, t. ilt 
p. 258. in the life of St. Wulfftan, libro ii, c. 20. *• Vicus 

efl maricimus Brichftuw didus, a quo refto curfu in Hi- 
" berniam tranfmittitur, ideoque illius barbariei acQom- 
" modus. Hujus indigenie cum cseteris ex Anglia caufa 

mercimonii fa^pe in Hiberniam navigant. — Videres ct 

gemeres concaienatos funibus mifcrorum ordines et utri- 
** ufque fexus adolefcentes ; qui liberali forma, aitate intc- 
" gra barbaris miferatione eflent, cotidie prollitui, cotidie 
'* venundari, ancillafque prius ludibrio lefti habitas iamque 
" prsegnantes venimdabant. Facinus exccrandum, dede- 
*' cus miferabile nec belluini aiFcdtus memores homines iie- 
*' cefficudines fuas, ipfum poftremo fanguinem fuum fervituri 
" addicere. Hunc tarn inveteratnm morem et a proavls ad 
*' ncpotcs transfufum Wdflbrius paulatim delevit, fciens 

B 3 '* peivi- 

.{ihd diminiflied by St. Wulfstan, whofe example 
was imitated by the fecond fynode of London, 
•which enaded, ^'Nequis illud nefarium negotium, 
quod hadtenus in Anglia folebant homines ficut 
bruta animalia venundari deinceps uUa tenus 
" facere prsefumat/* I find, however, remains 
of this inhuman trade ftill difgrace much later 
ages; and how could it be abolilhed, as long as 
the kings themfelves fold their prifoners for 

, money ? f . 

" pervicacitatem lllorum, non facile fle£ti. S^pe circa 
** COS duobus menfibus, fsepe tribus niancitabat omni do- 
" minica eo veniens et divinse praedicationis fi^mina fpar- 

Sanfti Lupi Sermo ad Anglos, in Prsfatione Epiflolan a4 
G. Hichefii thefai^r. linguar. Septentional. p. 99. 106, 
*' Pauperes autem et egeni graviffime quidem feducuntur, 
*' et circumyenti funt crudeliter per infidias et e terra venales 
«' miflifunt longe in exilium, et infantes c cunabulis minimo 

farti pretio plerumque per hanc gentem ac faeviifime con- 
** tra leges funt mancipati, et jus libertatis eft abreptum, 

& jus mancipii coanguftatum — et pernuilti ex hac regione 

venundantur Chriftiani." 


•j- Chronicon Saxonicum in the Cottonian Library, Ti^ 
"bcr. B. V, In the year 1036, Harold, King of England, 
having imprifoned the attendants of Prince Alfred, fold 
them as flaves in a public market. Conf. Encomiaftcs Em- 
xnae Regince in J,,Langcbeck's Scriptor. Rer, Danicar. t. ii. 
p. 49S. 


[ 23 ] 


Tlius the Irifli continued to buy flaves from 
England during the reign of king John 

In Norway, few fteps were taken towards the 
.abolition of the flave trade before the year layof* 
The lawj which till that time guided all civil 
:i)ufincfsj was paflcd by king Hacon, who began 
, his reign in the year 1222, and died in the year 
1263. In this law much is fpoken of the flaves, 
who feem to have been happier in Norway than 
in any other part of Europe ; for the flave could 
obtain his liberty by a prefcription of twenty 
years J, and the law guarded his life agalnft the 
_ mafl:erj who, for having killed his flave, was 
liable to be punifhed as a murderer §. The 

* Chronlcoii. Hiberix, or the Annals of Phil. Flatefburg, 
in the Cottonian Library. Domitian. A. xviiL Super his 
Hibernise miferiis et ab AngHs periculis convenlc apud Ard- 
machum (Anno 1172) plurima hominum mukitudo prs;- 
-cipue clericorum, qui concluferunt, eo ha^c Inala infli^lj 
effe Hiberniae, quod olim Angloruni pueros a Mercatori- 
bus ad fe adve£los in fervitutem emcrant contra jui Chrif- ' 
tiana: libertatis. Angli enim olim pauperes ut necellita- 
tern fupplerent vel propnos filios vendere foliri funt. Unde 
cum. omnium confenfu per toiam Hiberniara fervi Angli 
libere abirc permifli funt. 

f The ancient la\;' of Norway, called Gulething's Law, 
commonly attributed to King Hacon Haraldfon. The book 
on liberty, chap. v. 

X Froftathing's Law of King Hacon Haconfon, part iv, 
thap. XV, § Gulething's Law, L c. 

64- flave 


flave who deftroyed his infant child, was confi- 
dered as one of the greateft offenders, but as 
they had no capital punifliments in Norway at 
that time, the punifhment was being fold for 
exportation. The flave had fome property ac- 
cruing from his own induftry*, when not em- 
ployed in his mafter's fervice ; a property which 
fometimes enabled a fkilful flave to recover his 
. liberty. The mafter of a flave could not refufe 
him his liberty, when offered the purchafe mo- 
ney j nay, it was fufficient if half the fum was 
delivered -f. The manumiffion prefcribed in the 

• Snorro Sturlefon's Hiltoria Rer. Norvegicar. Havn, 
1777. vol. ii, in the Life of King Oluf. The king dilTa- 
tislied with fome great men in the county of Thrundhem, 
which then laboured under fcarcity, forbid the inhabitants 
of the fouthern parts of Norway to give even the leall re- 
lief to their brethren in the north. A near relation of the 
famous Einar Thambefkielfer came to him, and aiked for 
corn J Einar having fully explained the impropriety of 
complying with defires contrary to the proclamation of 
their royal mafter, faid, " My flaves, for whofe adlions I 
*' am by no means legally bound, poflefs corn in plenty ; 
" it is their property, and they can difpofe of it according 
" to their own pleafure." It fecms as if the flaves in Den- 
mark have enjoyed the fame privilege, for EInoth, in the 
life of Saint Canute the king, fays, Servos manumilTos 
" et proprii fudorh lahore pretio acqidjtto redempios libertati 
" publiccc adjudicavit." See J. Langebeck's Script. Rer, 
Danicar. t. Hi. p. 352. 

• Froflathing's Law of Hacoii Haconfon, part u 


i 25 1 

faid law is particularly curious ; " If a flavc 
takes land and fettles, then ihall ■ he give aa 
entertainment, called the Feafi of Liberty^ the 
expences of which fliall be nine bufhcls of 
*^ malt and a ram. A free-born man fhall cut 
off the head of the ram, and the mafter fhall 
unlock the collar * furrounding the flave's 
neck. If the mafter refufes to grant the flavc 
leave of giving the feaft of liberty, then fhall 
" the flave requeft it before two witnefTcs, and 
in their prefence invite his mafter, with five 
" friends of his. The flave then fhall prepare 
the entertainment, and let the uppermoftfeat 
be ready to receive his mafter and miftrefs. 
" Thus the flave fhall recover his liberty, which 
recovery he fhall prove by thofe who were 
prefent at the feaft, againft all attempts, which 
his mafter may purfue for the future." Such 
was the ftate of flavery in Norway, when it was 
totally aboliihed in the year 1 270, by king Mag- 
nus, called the Reformer of the Law, 

• On this occafion the author remembers to have feen In the 
Mufeum of the Antiquarian Society at Edinburgh a metal 
collar, conftrufted with a ring for receiving a padlock, with 
the following infcription :— 

Alexander Stewart found guilty of death, for theft at 
" Perth, the 5th of December 1701, and gifted by the 
" Jufticiary as a perpetual fervant to Sir John Erfkine of . 
" Ah^." This collar was lately found in the grave of the 
«ieceafed, in the burial ground at Alva. 


C *6 3 

The Dani{h law of King Eric Menved, who 
died in the Year 13 19, fliews, that flavery then 
was very cornmon, notwithftanding the kings 
themfelves had joined their efforts with the 

clergy, and aimed conftantly at the deftrudtion 
of it. According to the Scanifli- law, fervitude 
was the certain fate of a criminal oiFender * 5 of 
a captive t; of die offspring of a female flave. 
The captives belonged to the king, and offenders 
were flaves to the public j:. With refpeft to 
birth, the rule well known by the Romans, par^ 
tus Jequitur venfremy was fo carefully obferved, 
that if a flave happened to be father of a child, 
whofe mother w^s born free, the child had the 
ftrongeft claim to liberty § : nay, that a free- 
. born man who had married a woman not know- 
ing her to be a flave, had right to fue for di- 
vorce, and marry another as he pleafed |j. Dur- 
ing the flavery in Denmark^ it refembled much 
the. Roman flavery; and it is uncertain how or* 
when the Danifli flaves were emancipated. 

The fi:ate of Slavery in Sweden fell and rofe i;a 
the fame degree as it did among her neighbours. 
In Upland, the fervitude was abrogated by King 

* The ScanifhLaw, libro vi. c. g. libr. vii. c. 15. 
L, C. X L. c. § L. c. This was 

reverfe according to the Englifh law. See Bradlon, 
libr. vi. traft. i. c. 21 — 22. 

11 The laws of Sxland paffcd by King Eric Menved, 

book V. cb. 3. 

' . Byrger 

[ ^^7 1 

Byrger m the year 1295 ; and King Eric Mag*^ 
nufon Ipread the bleffing of liberty over the reft 
of that kingdom ;n the year 1335, for the pur- 
pofe, as he faid, of following Gody who has ref- 
cued the whole mankind from Slavery 

It was but late that Slavery was abolillied in 
Scandinavia^ yet I am happy to fay, that the 
confequences were entirely different from thofe 
■in moft other countries." Every where but in 
Norway, Iceland, and Sweden, a new clafs of 
human beings called Gleb^e adfcripli arofe, who 
were nothing more than Slaves, except that they 
could not be exchanged and fold as brutes, or 
without the land, with refpeft to which, they were 
confidered as cattle. This defcription of people 
were likewife ftiled Villani. Therefore, when the 
ancient laws and hiftorians of the middle age 
fpeak of the abolition of flave trade, it is not to 
be underftood as if all fervitude ceafed at once ^ 
that fuppofition is diredtly contrary to the tefti- 
mony of a multitude of authentic records, and 
other faithful accounts. The truth is. that an 
abfolute flavery was changed into a limited one, 
in which human beings were fecured from the 
arbitrary difpofal of a capricious matter, 

• The Weft Gothic Law. 




[ ^8 ] 

From the preceding extradls it appears, that 
Slavery is a neceflary evil attending upon na- 
tions in a ftate of uncivilization and barbarifm ; 
and that very great efFortSj for a continued length 
of time, are required to extirpate it. Europe 
would never have attempted, much lefs have 
cfFededj the happy alteration that has univerfally 
taken, place within her own borders, unlefs fhe 
had firfl: received the humane doftrines of Chrif- 
tianity. This however was the work of centu- 
ries, and of men who facrificed their own cafe to 
the good of mankind. And we may reafonably 
conclude, that without the knowledge of true 
morality, and of that philanthropy which is befl: 
taught by the Gofpcls, without a fettled life em- 
ployed in agriculture and arts, in fcience and 
manufaftures, it is impoffible for the inhabi- 
tants of the Gold Coaft to live free from thofe 
evils which introduce Slavery, or what is worfe, 
the horrid murders of their captives by the fword 
or the fire, to glut revenge, or appeafe fuperfticion. 
It will not be an eafy matter for all the ftates of 
Europe to agree in pafling a general law for the 
abolition of the Slave Trade ; but it will be ftill 
more difficult to prevent the African fhores 
from reeking with the gore of young and old 
taken captive by an enemy, who, when the Slave 


[ 29 ] 

Trade has ceafed, will have no other efFetftual 
Tiiechod of fecuring his dreaded foe *• 

For thefe reafons it appears to me that the 
abolition of the Slave Trade is by no. means ad- 


vifeable, with a view to Chriftian duty and bene- 
volence, as it alfo appears imprafticable in the 
light of political intereft. How can Europe, 
who divides her regards between philanthropy 

* The cruelty with which Roger Hoveden and the author 
of the life of St. Elphege charge the Danes, is owing to the 
above-mentioned reafon. The Danes had no market 
for flaves in England ; and they could neither give a 
fhare of their provifions to their captives, nor detach 
a body of men from the army, to keep in order fuck 
au immenfe number of flaves, whom they knew would un- 
dertake any thing which might rellore them to liberty, and 
enable them to harrafs their enemy. Under fuch circum- 
ilances, the Barbarians had no other alternative than to put 
their captives to death ; — death was perhaps far preferable 
to a difeafed life confumcd in a horrid dungeon, which often 
has been the cafe. Vita SantEti Elphegi in Whartoni Anglia 
Sacra. Igitur ex omni numero, qui ad o£lo millia hominum 
praitendebatur, quataor folummodo monafticse profeflionis 
o£lingentos autem inferioris ordinis viros remanfifle acce- 
piinus, quos primum beneficii gratia computatos, deindc 
verbei ibus acriter exaratos, aut pecuniaria redemptione dignos 
jii4icaverunt, aut fervilibus mancipandos , operibus fecum 
abdu:;erunt. Roger Hoveden, fol. 247. b. Grex moua- 
chalis et turba virilis, fed et muliebris necnon infantilis 
decinjatur, no'vein trucid^intur dccimus 'uit^ refer^vaiur aua-« 
tuor monachis et oiSlingentis decimatorum fumma perfici- 

g ani4 

C 30 3 

and commercial intereft, fee her plantations nc- 
glefted and reftored to their natural wildnefs for 
want of hands to cultivate them ? can fhe give 
up with indifference thofe millions whom fhe 
might fave from brutal tyrants, and place in a 
ftate of fervitude comiparatively happy ? 

I myfelf hate every branch of Slavery, yet I 
wifli that of the Negroes to be ftill continued, 
under the eyes of government, whofeduty it is to 
demand accounts of the treatment of the flaves 
during their voyage to the Weft Indies. Here 
let the purchafers be reftrained in their bargains 
to a certain term of years, after which the flave 
to be free : in the mean time forbid the mafter 
to have power over the lives of his flaves, and 
give him not the fmalleft right to mutilate or 
torture them Let the n^after be obliged to in- 
dulge his flaves in certain leifure hours to attend 
the teachers of the gofpel, who fliall inftru(5t 
them in the eftabliflied religion 5 for here, I 
believe the mifllonaries will do more good than 
in Africa, at leaft this is the firft objcft. Let 
the flaves have what the Romans call Peculium, 

* CapUulare. Libr, vi. c. 14. Si percufTerit quifpiam 
oculum fervi fui aut ancillse, et, lufcoa cos fecerk, dimittat 
cos liberos pro oculo quern eruit. Dentem vero fi excufTerit 
fcrvo vel ancillje fimili fentcntia fubjacebit. 

a fmall 

C Si 1 

a.fmall property, to be cultivated when they arc 
not employed in their mafters fervice. Let the 
propagation of the flaves be encouraged by pre- 
miums to be divided between the parents and 
the mafter. Let all children of flaves born in a 
Chriftian country be free, and let them be edu- 
cated at the public expence, as in the Foundling 
Hofpital and the Workhoufes. But if this be. 
too much to attempt, let fuch children ferve 
only a certain number of years, to repay their 
mafter the expence their fupport has brought 
upon him. By humane treatment^ and alTiduous 
inftruftion in divine and moial truths, the Da- 
nifli milTionaries, and the Moravian brethren, 
have been of great comfort and utility to the 
Danifli Negroes : thefe flaves become virtuous 
by the aid of fuch preachers, and the hope of 
certain liberty, appears to influence their minds 
with fuch principles as are an ample recompence 
to themfelves, and a fourcc of unftained riches 
t© the public.